Saturday, January 29, 2011

X-tream Evil

It's a multi-staged geocache — "X-tream Evil," that is (GC1AM8X). I won't be giving away any secrets by revealing that, in order to reach one of the cache stages, you have to construct a rope bridge over a ravine, which — out of necessity — makes the whole business a team effort. Our team consisted of folks with monikers like 3EaglesHigh, DLF2001, RobGSO, and Damned Rodan; we were also accompanied by the cache owner his own self, Mr. Rich "Night-Ranger" Colter, who made sure things got fixed after we broke them (or in one case, broke a stage so that it would actually work). We hit the woods at 8:00 AM, and got the quickest, easiest stages done promptly. No problems at all until we actually constructed the rope bridge across the rocky ravine. On the first test, the lower support line suffered a catastrophic failure — due to faulty equipment — which would have been bad news indeed had someone actually been out on the line. But that's why God made cache owners. In a fairly short time, he provided us with the new, necessary item to make reparations, and soon enough, a secure "Postman's Walk" spanned the ravine.

Uncle Rob went across first and procured the item that needed procuring in order to continue. Next, the two young eaglets went across, making it look shockingly easy. But then came the old dude's turn, and I gotta tell you, my crossing was far less graceful than the young 'uns who preceded me. Now the bridge isn't terribly high, though it's far enough up that, if you fall into the ravine, it's going to be an unpleasant experience. Fortunately, I remain just agile enough to maintain some semblance of balance. I reached the far side without mishap, and the rest of the team soon followed. From there, we set out for the final stages of the cache, only to find ourselves bamboozled when...lo and behold...a stage turned out to be missing.

Well, suffice it to say that the cache owner again came to the rescue, this time with a pair of bolt cutters. So off we go to the final stage, which proved to be a rigorous physical challenge in its own right. I'll give no more away than to say it was simultaneously deep, dark, dank, and very high. Uncle Rob and I undertook the necessary steps to retrieve and then return the final cache container to its rightful place.

I might mention here that all this activity takes place shockingly close to a big old Wal-Mart. We did receive some highly entertaining stares from Wal-Mart patrons, who surely thought we must be a group of maniacal survivalists training to get through the coming apocalypse. Well, it was all great; everyone contributed, and no one died. A good day's work.

Afterward, my friend Bill Mann came round for an afternoon and evening of daikaiju films, which we must on occasion do. This was all quite nice as well, though after the morning's exertions, I found my eyelids heading south several times during the movies. I reckon that's okay; I've seen them all before, and nothing appeared to be missing from the house when Bill took his leave.

Putting it all together

Uncle Rob on the Postman's Walk


Old dude making the crossing


Thursday, January 20, 2011

LEGENDS OF THE NIGHT Trade Paperback


A vintage book, in a new — and inexpensive — edition! Wildside has released my 2002 short story collection, Legends of the Night, as a trade paperback, retailing for $14.95 — about the same as a decent bottle of wine, except that Legends lasts a bit longer and is probably scarier. The book features 13 of my short stories, including several of my Cthulhu Mythos tales, such as "The Children of Burma" and "Stalker of the Wild Wind." It also features my story, "Before the Red Star Falls," a prequel to H. G. Wells's War of the Worlds, set in medieval Scotland. This story is available as a free sample at my website; and you can check it out right here.

If you haven't read any of my work before, now is a really good time to give it a try. Many of my books are readily available, in various formats, including e-books and audio books. Plus I have more releases coming down the pike very soon — my collection, The Gaki & Other Hungry Spirits, forthcoming from Dark Regions, and my novel, Blue Devil Island, forthcoming as a trade paperback from Marietta Books. Visit my website for a decent overview of my entire catalog, with links to Amazon and other book sites for quick and easy ordering. There's other fun stuff, like my Daikaiju review section and my James Bond 007 soundtrack review site. I'm also offering autographed copies of several of my titles, which you can purchase securely via Paypal, directly from The Realm of Stephen Mark Rainey.

I can guarantee you'll get your money's worth...and hopefully then some. Do drop by!

Monday, January 17, 2011

THE GAKI (Hardcover Editions) Now Available for Pre-Order

The signed & limited hardback editions of The Gaki & Other Hungry Spirits are now available for pre-order from Dark Regions. Estimated date of delivery is January 31; the trade paperback edition will follow shortly thereafter.

Contents are as follows:
  • "The Gaki," 2005; originally published in Cemetery Dance magazine, 2005
  • "Ghost Lens," 2006; originally published in Horrors Beyond, Elder Signs Press, 2007
  • "Terror From Middle Island" (with Durant Haire), 2002; originally published Frontier Cthulhu: Ancient Horrors in the New World, Chaosium, 2007
  • "Black Tom," 2008; originally published in Northern Haunts, Shroud Publications, 2009
  • "Iron Heart," 2008
  • "The Forgiven," 1988; originally published in Robert Bloch's Psychos, 1997; Legends of the Night, Wildside Press, 2001
  • "Festival of the Jackal, Off Broadway," 1987; originally published in Grue magazine; Fugue Devil & Other Weird Horrors, Macabre Inc., 1994
  • "A Tale of the Terrible Dead," 2005; originally published in Doorways magazine, 2007
  • "Abroyel," 2007
  • "Megan," 2008; originally published in Darker Discoveries, Dark Discoveries magazine, 2008
  • "Demon Jar," 2007; originally published at HorrorWorld.com, 2008
  • "The Spiders of Galley Cove," 1993
  • "Free Sample," 1997; originally published in The Conspiracy Files, Pocket Books, 1998
  • "This Old House," 2008
  • "Sarcophagus," 2007
  • "Field Dressing," 1995
  • "Misfits," 1989; originally published in Midnight Zoo magazine, 1991; Quick Chills, Scream Factory Books, 1992; The Last Trumpet, Wildside Press, 2000

The signed/limited hardcover is $40; the signed, leather-bound deluxe edition with slipcase is $99 (only 13 of these are available). I believe the trade paperback will be $19.99. Cover art is by the right beastly M. Wayne Miller. For more info, and to order, click here.

This book is a pretty thorough cross-section of my short fiction from the past 20 years; six of the tales are relatively new and never-before-published. Whichever edition may appeal to you most, I think I can guarantee you'll get your money's worth. Give it a try. Note: Other Gods, my earlier short fiction collection, is also available at Dark Regions, also with cover art by M. Wayne Miller. For more info on it, click here.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Out on the Dam Trail


There's something very satisfying about hiking in the snow, especially when there are geocaches to be found out yonder. In higher-traffic areas, most of the white stuff has melted, but there's still plenty of it out in the woods. I managed a first-to-find on a fairly new, very evil cache, hidden by the right wicked Mr. Rob Isenhour (a.k.a. robgso); then it was off to Martinsville and a hike out by Fisher Dam, on Marrowbone Creek. Back in the days of my checkered youth, I spent lots of time at the dam, imbibing things that probably ought not have been, and in later days, I occasionally accompanied my brother out here, where he was fond of walking his dog, Luther (R.I.P.). It's a beautiful site, a few hundred yards back in the woods off an old country road. Back in 1925, the land was owned by the Fisher family, who built the dam for hydro-electric power — largely for operating the pumps to milk their 200+ cows, so I'm told. Just for good measure, they put up streetlights in the area, making it one of the only places in rural Henry County to have electric streetlights in those days.

Hiking along the river past the dam, I found numerous piles of ancient bricks and other building materials. Mountain laurel grows in profusion along the banks, and wild turkey apparently enjoy congregating in the surrounding woods. Most significantly, judging by the eerie sounds I used to hear out there late at night, I'm pretty sure shoggoths also haunt those woods, lying in wait for unsuspecting victims.

It's a damn fine place for geocaching. I definitely approve. But do mind the shoggoths, if you want to live to cache another day....

Click on the pics to enlarge.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Stone-Cold Stunner


Yes, that's my It's-bloody-cold-out-here-but-I'm-having-fun face. Temps were in the mid 20s yesterday, but it was otherwise not nasty, so I resolved to hit the trail and hunt a few caches. Went out to Cedarock, just south of Burlington, and put in a good couple of miles. It was a fine day of hiking, and I really enjoyed myself, but I did witness an accident that could have been a lot worse than it apparently was. I had found a cache, signed the log, and re-hidden it, and I was just getting back on the trail when a couple of horses and riders came around a curve ahead. It was on a steep hill, and I don't know whether the horse didn't expect someone else to be on the trail or what, but that thing bolted and threw the young woman on its back down hard. The horse ran off in a panic, but the other rider hauled ass after it and apparently caught it before it got too far away. The young woman assured me she was all right, though obviously dizzy and in pain. Still, she appeared to shake it off and not long afterward was able to get going again.

Hope all was okay. That ground was frozen mighty hard. Anyhoo, snagged seven caches in the bargain, and rescued a bag of caching supplies for a fellow cacher who had apparently lost it. At least one good deed done....

Thursday, January 6, 2011

BALAK Audio Book Now Available

Balak has crawled out of chaos and is now available from Crossroad Press. I've given a portion of it a listen, and I'm very pleased with Erik Synnesvedt's narration. Audio sample is available here:

Check out Balak at Crossroad Press here.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sneak Peaks

The cover of the new audio book release of Balak, coming soon from Crossroad Press (see December 27, 2010, blog entry for more info on Balak).

The cover of The Gaki & Other Hungry Spirits, my new collection of short horror fiction, coming soon from Dark Regions.



Saturday, January 1, 2011

Adventures in the New Year

Freaky people at Chateau Morrisette

Or almost in the new year, as the case may be. Fit in a good many activities over the weekend (so far), a couple of which proved to be a bit on the hair-raising side. Headed to Martinsville with Ms. B. on Friday; needed to do some maintenance on a couple of my geocaches, so it was off to the trail we went. Getting to one of the hides, called Castle Rock, requires negotiating some pretty steep and rocky terrain. Well, Ms. B. should have read the cache description. It says, "Be careful. The hillside is rugged enough that you may be injured if you fall." Did we take note? Noooo. Fortunately, Ms. B. bounces, though she brings home an embarrassing contusion or two.

Next, we headed up to Chateau Morrisette, in Floyd County, for a nice New Year's Eve dinner. It's a beautiful setting in any season, but with the holiday decorations still up in profusion, it was especially appealing — and the food and wine brought on some serious hollering (of the good sort). Afterward, having set our sights on a geocache at a covered bridge farther out in the county, we hit the road, opting for the most direct route — which, as it turned out, became rather frightening. Initially, we encountered no snow, ice, or other hazards, and it seemed the drive would be a piece of cake. However, once we got pretty far along, conditions changed, and we suddenly found ourselves at a point of no-return: due to the narrow road and steep incline, there was no way to turn around and go back. Down the mountain we went, on a muddy, occasionally icy road, down hellishly steep straight-aways and around tight hairpin curves. At one point, when we broke free of the woods for a brief spell, we could see by the distant lights in the darkness just how high up we were. Suffice it to say, I made up my mind not dwell on the altitude; it would have been unhealthy. The GPS map was absolutely invaluable here, for I could see when the hairpins were coming up and get an idea of how far we had to go anywhere along the way. A hairy ride to say to the least, but thanks to God looking after fools and dedicated geocachers, we at long last made it to the covered bridge — and after an enjoyable nighttime hunt, we found the cache. From there, we made our way back to lower, flatter, and less harrowing altitudes.

Today, the weather turned surprisingly warm, so it was off to the Laurel Bluff Trail to hunt a new cache. The trail was still a bit mucky and icy, bound by a beautiful, almost eerie mist. And, literally, the moment I found the cache, rain started falling. Happily, it wasn't heavy or cold, and the hike back to the car wasn't very long.

A satisfying end to the old year, and perhaps a propitious opening for the new.

Let's watch those slippery boulders, Ms. B.

The bamboo grove on the Laurel Bluff Trail

Mist over the marsh near the trail